Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO WILLIAM TUDOR. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO WILLIAM TUDOR. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 10.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
TO WILLIAM TUDOR.
Quincy, 30 July, 1818.
Another passage, which Mr. Otis read from Ashley, gave occasion, as I suppose, to another memorable and very curious event, which your esteemed pupil and my beloved friend, Judge Minot, has recorded. The passage is in the 42d page.
“In fine, I would humbly propose that the duties on foreign sugar and rum imposed by the before-mentioned act of the 6th of King George II. remain as they are, and also the duty on molasses, so far as concerns the importations into the sugar colonies, but that there be an abatement of the duty on molasses imported into the northern colonies, so far as to give the British planters a reasonable advantage over foreigners, and what may bear some proportion to the charge, risk, and inconvemence of running it in the manner they now do, or after the proposed regulation shall be put in execution. Whether this duty shall be one, two, or three pence, sterling money of Great Britain, per gallon, may be matter of consideration.”
Gracious and merciful indeed! The tax might be reduced and made supportable, but not abolished. Oh, no! by no means.
Mr. Hutchinson, however, seized this idea of Ashley, of reducing the tax on molasses from sixpence to threepence, or twopence, or a penny; and the use he made of it you shall learn from your own pupil and my amiable friend, Judge Minot.1
“About this time there was a pause in the opposition to the measures of the crown and parliament, which might have given some appearance of the conciliation of parties, but which was more probably owing to the uncertainty of the eventual plan of the ministry, and the proper ground to be chosen for counteracting it. The suppressing of the proposed instructions to the agent by a committee of the House of Representatives indicated that this balance of power there was unsettled. Several circumstances showed a less inflexible spirit than had existed among the leaders. The governor appointed the elder Mr. Otis a justice of the court of common pleas, and judge of probate for the county of Barnstable. The younger wrote a pamphlet on the rights of the British colonies, in which he acknowledged the sovereignty of Parliament, as well as the obligations of the colonies to submit to such burdens as it might lay upon them, until it should be pleased to relieve them, and put the question of taxing America on the footing of the common good.”
I beg your attention to Mr. Minot’s history, vol. ii., from page 140 to the end of the chapter in page 152. Mr. Minot has endeavored to preserve the dignity, the impartiality, and the delicacy of history. But it was a period of mingled glory and disgrace. But as it is a digression from the subject of Mr. Otis’s speech against writs of assistance, I can pursue it no further at present. Mr. Hutchinson seized the idea of reducing the duties. Mr. Otis and his associates seemed to despair of any thing more. Hutchinson was chosen agent, to the utter astonishment of every American out of doors. This was committing the lamb to the kind guardianship of the wolf. The public opinion of all the friends of their country was decided. The public voice was pronounced in accents so terrible, that Mr. Otis fell into a disgrace, from which nothing but Jemmibullero saved him. Mr. Hutchinson was politely excused from his embassy, and the storm blew over. Otis, upon whose zeal, energy, and exertions the whole great cause seemed to depend, returned to his duty, and gave entire satisfaction to the end of his political career.
Thus ended the piddling project of reducing the duty on molasses from sixpence a gallon to fivepence, fourpence, threepence, twopence, or a penny. And one half penny a gallon would have abandoned the great principle as much as one pound.
This is another digression from the account of Mr. Otis’s argument against writs of assistance and the acts of trade. I have heretofore written you on this subject. The truth, the whole truth, must and will and ought to come out; and nothing but the truth shall appear with the consent of your humble servant,
[1 ] Volume ii. page 142.